Aug. 19th, 2012

levity: (evening stretched out against the sky)
Because you brought home a college application form one afternoon in 2008 and your mother said that if there was even the slighest chance that you might want to be a doctor in the future, you ought to check the box. You were sixteen years old and directionless; it wasn't even really a question. Because you checked the box, and six months later you got a call. Then again, isn't that how all stories start?

Because you never managed to rid yourself of the idea that if you had a talent and an education you followed the talent, but if all you had was the education, then you went into medicine. Because if you wanted to consider switching career paths altogether, you should have done it before letting your academics go down the toilet in a two-year-long bender worthy of all the mental health cliches the media has to offer.

Because paying for your take-out pasta at the grocery the cashier asked you and your roommates if you were studying to be doctors, and you said yes, and she smiled and said that the Philippines needed more doctors; because sometimes you need validation from strangers that you're not just working towards an ideal that not only never existed but that was also never valid except as an exercise in self-congratulatory guilt-prevention measures. Because your parents are the classic ivory-tower academics who deal in policy and practice without ever getting to see the people the policies are being made for, and someone in the family had to do something pragmatic. Because there's nothing noble in the profession of medicine, any more than there is anything noble in any other profession that helps make the world go round, and you're sick to what passes for your soul of all the idiots who delude themselves into believing otherwise. Because you don't know what's worse- that your classmates actually buy into the embarrassing but sacred Hippocratic bullshit business, or that they don't. Because in many ways doctors are like superheroes are like politicians- the people who want the job should be, by definition, the people who should never get it, unless the alternative is the people who believe they were born for it. Because it's a lot like plugging holes in a sinking ship, and then you go on med missions for people who really need them and it's not like plugging holes in a sinking ship at all.

Because when you were picking through your library's journal archives shopping for a third-year research project cancer called your name, like the perfect pair of shoes in a shop window, and, and.

Because love is for children and you don't know how to do happiness without looking over your figurative shoulder for the screaming need to walk off of the roof of a convenient building that you have never lived without, and besides you wouldn't know what to do with either anyway, but work is something you can set store by, always. Because, contrary to your usual, you can imagine yourself doing something else for the rest of your life, and it wouldn't be a gaping hole inside of you. Because when two roads diverge in a yellow whatever, who the hell's to tell you you can't take both?

Because you're never going to be great and you're never going to be good, but you can always do something useful.

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December 2012

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